Free & Unique Gift Wrap Paper

You can create unique gift packages and help the environment by recycling!  Before tossing old road maps into the trash (which are FREE to AAA members), use them to wrap gifts.  The maps are colorful and may also be a conversation piece (especially if the recipient has been to the area of the map).  Simply add a colorful ribbon for an exquisite presentation!

Other “free” wrapping paper could include old newspapers — especially the colorful comics sections for children’s birthday gifts.

Free Gift Bag Filler

I take used or wrinkled gift tissue of all sizes and colors and put it through the paper shredder. I use this for filler in gift bags and “grass” in Easter candy baskets.

Sometimes I just mix up all the colors; other times I shred one color at a time so I can keep them separate.

While this isn’t a significant money-saver, I never spend even a buck or two on shredded gift bag filler, and I like knowing I’m recycling all the tissue paper that comes my way. Heidi

Post-Dated Gifting for College Students

When our grandchildren began graduating from high school and heading off to college, we wanted to give them money each month during their first year of college.

So in their high school graduation card, we enclosed 10—$100.00 post-dated checks, starting with August of that year and ending the following May. We knew it would come in handy, not only for the grandchildren but for their parents, too. We figured the extra money each month might avoid a call home, asking their parents for a little bit more. Or, it might pay for something that was unexpected.

Our oldest grandson told us many times how he appreciated this. We have been blessed, always knowing how important we are to our grandchildren—because we have let them know how important they are to us.

Note: You could do this in any amount from $10 to $100.  And, if you don’t use checks you could always make a monthly electronic deposit.




Got Lemons? Make Limoncello

I loved reading the Everyday Cheapskate column on Mary’s lemon bounty. I wanted to suggest for anyone who has an excess of lemons—make Limoncello. This is an Italian lemon liqueur that also uses the lemon’s peels, and it is delicious.

I made it last year for Christmas gifts and had the most fun shopping swap meets and yard sales to find really beautiful and unusual bottles. I even researched recipes using limoncello and attached a copy of the recipe I used to each gift. It takes awhile to “brew,” but it’s easy and the end result is beautiful. With all the juicing, peeling, and cooking, there’s not a smidgen of waste. Carol



Creative Gift Idea

Each year, I provide 20+ adults with a small gift to thank them for investing in the lives of my children in elementary school. Because there are so many,  and I don’t know them very well (cafeteria staff, school nurse, bus driver, custodian, school counselor, librarian, etc.), I need to keep the gifts affordable.

Each January, I choose a theme for a simple gift bag. Two examples are “May your Holidays be Merry & Bright” with an orange and yellow tag or “Just wanted to TEAL you Happy Holidays” with a teal theme.

I look for practical and consumable gifts that fit the theme (hand lotion, lip balm, pens, tissue packs, chewing gum, sticky notes, emery boards, etc.) by visiting the clearance racks at stores and shopping big sales.



How to Wrap an Elephant (or any oversized gift)

Don’t waste time and expensive wrapping paper trying to cover an oversize package with multiple sheets of regular-size wrapping paper.  Instead buy a colorful paper or plastic tablecloth and pre-made bow at the dollar store.

It works great, and you’ll have enough paper to wrap a small elephant (or similar size gift) for just a few bucks!

Gift Idea for College Student

When you have everything you need to qualify for a product or rebate, fill out the coupon with the name and address of your favorite college student. The refund check will arrive in the student’s mailbox, made payable to him or her. Who doesn’t love a little surprise now and again!

Rolled Wrapping Paper Saver

Tired of ripped wrapping paper after using tape or paper clips to keep it rolled?  Elastic hair bands are the perfect solution…just slide them up the tube.  They’ll keep your paper rolled and when ready to use, slide them down and no rips from tape or paper clips! Longer rolls may require more than one band.